How to make spinach borani at home

Written by

Naomi Duguid, author of “Taste of Persia.” (Photoby Gentl & Hyers) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Say “Iran,” and a web of complex political and religious conflicts commingle with ideologies of the modern state. Yet “Persia” evokes a broader picture of an ancient gastroculture that encompasses many lands and peoples. Food writer and photographer Naomi Duguid spent years exploring lands bound by tradition and custom, just as the territory was opening up to travelers from the West. In “Taste of Persia,” Duguid writes that connections in the region are found not just in places of worship, language and alphabet, but in kitchens, in gardens and at the table.

Borani are a staple in this part of the world: tender cooked vegetables served in thick strained yogurt that are topped with crispy fried onions. There are countless variations of borani available at Persian restaurants, but the dish is easy enough to prepare at home. Duguid makes hers by combining wilted spinach with sautéed onions and creamy yogurt, then finishes the dish off with onions, toasted walnuts or pistachios and a dash of saffron water. Give it a try!